What Makes a House a Home?

We have lived in our new house for six weeks. The weather has begun to change and our screened in porch is truly one of the most peaceful places to sit with a cup of coffee in the morning or a glass of wine at the end of a long day. Our house is located on three acres, surrounded by woods. The sound of the leaves blowing gently in the breeze or even raindrops are comforting.

We are still unpacking boxes and desperately trying find a place to put the numerous belongings we brought with us, I have come to realize, that we own too many things. The new house is much smaller than our previous house. We went from 2800 square feet to 1728 square feet, we definitely downsized! This was our intention, to purchase a home we could manage easier, less upkeep as we get older, a home we could retire in and not have to move again. However, trying to fit belongings in a house half the size of what you previously lived in, is a challenge to say the least.

Continue reading “What Makes a House a Home?”

this room, that window . . . those memories

This room has come to represent who I am as a photographer. Most people who follow my blog or my Instagram feed, are quite familiar with this window. I have photographed flowers, chairs, children, McKenzie and even Lily in front of this window. This past weekend, as we continued to pack up our entire house, the time came to pack up my studio. After four hours and many boxes later (I did not realize how many props I owned), this room was my sanctuary, a place where I spent many hours organizing, prepping props and photographing pretty still life photographs, now it stood empty.

Continue reading “this room, that window . . . those memories”

who needed whom . . .

Those who follow my blog know, 2019 didn’t start off too well. We lost our Westie, McKenzie, the day before my birthday. Trying to make the most of my birthday, we had dinner reservations with my daughter and son-in-law, immediately before picking them up, I hurt my back and could barely walk, it took several weeks before I felt better.

The loss of McKenzie was so painful, I just could not get past losing her. I honestly thought I did not want anymore dogs. It was me who kept saying, after she is gone, I’m not ready to take care of another dog. Words, just words! As the weeks passed, the loneliness Brian and I felt in our home didn’t seem to subside.

Continue reading “who needed whom . . .”

knowing . . .

“When you adopt a dog, you have a lot of very good days and one very bad day.”

~ W. Bruce Cameron

I’ve written before about our Westie, McKenzie.  She came to us in 2005 the year after we lost my Mom and we lost our Akita, Teddy.  It was me who said I didn’t want another dog after we lost Teddy, but the house seemed so lonely, no one to greet me when I arrived home from work.  A person I worked with owned a Westie (West Highland White Terrier) and told me how wonderful the breed was.  I located a breeder, she came to our home, and approved us as parents for her puppy.  That is how McKenzie became a family member.  

Continue reading “knowing . . .”

A New Beginning . . .

“Celebrate what you want to see more of.” ~ Tom Peters

Each year we are given 365 new days to begin fresh. As we begin the new year, we have new hopes, desires and wishes for the best year ever. Most people make New Years Resolutions, however, many, including me, do not follow through with those resolutions. Regardless, we still have a clean slate and an entire year to accomplish wonderful things.

I haven’t photographed much in the last few months, nor have I written my blog as often as I would have liked to. I took time off to make a Christmas stocking for my grandson, which took me four months to complete. I forgot how much I love to cross stitch. I am so happy I rediscovered it, although, now I need a huge magnifying glass and very bright light to see those teeny, tiny squares Continue reading “A New Beginning . . .”

Let it be Christmas

“Peace on Earth will come to stay, when we live Christmas every day.” ~ Helen Steiner Rice

The days have gotten shorter, it’s dark earlier as the Winter Solstice approaches, but this time of year, the Christmas lights brighten the darkness. Lighting the way for all to experience joy and love. Even if you aren’t Christian, you cannot help but love Christmas lights. As children my parents would pile us in the car and drive around to look at the light displays. I followed this tradition with my daughter and I know she will do the same with her son. Why do lights amaze us and enlighten us so? What is the meaning behind the lights, and why do we feel the desire to celebrate in this way?

According to Robert Lobitz:

Symbol of the starry night on which Christ was born: 
Some people like to think of the lights representing the Star of Bethlehem, the sign that marked that Christ was born.

Symbol of the light of Christ:
In Christian tradition, candles are a symbol for Jesus and the light he brings to earth even in the darkest times. Some believe that the light is symbolic of the eternal light of Jesus’ spirit that is particularly kept in mind over Christmas. Different colored candles also represented different qualities, for example a white candle represents the purity of Christ whilst a pink candle represents joy.

Symbol of the light, hope and good in the world: 
The Christmas lights also served to remind good Christians to provide light to others.

Symbol of following the enlightened path: 
Some suggest that the Christmas lights are a reminder to follow the way of Christ. The path of lights that wind around the tree leading to the star at the top may be symbolic of the enlighted path to salvation.

I recently heard a song by Alan Jackson which seemed to resonate with me. The lyrics seemed to bring home what Christmas is truly about. Sometimes I need to remind myself that I need to be kind to others, even when I may not feel kind. None of know what sadness or possible situation may be happening in others lives, so we should try and be kind in spite of ourselves.

Christmas lights represent hope, lighting up the night sky, bringing joy to all this time of year. If we could keep that hopeful feeling in our hearts and in our daily lives throughout the year, what a better world we would all live in. I am not a deeply religious person, however, I do feel that being a good person and being kind to others, makes me a happier person inside. That inner happiness shows on the outside, which in turn brings happiness to others.

During this Christmas season, may the joy and love fill your hearts and the hearts of your family and friends.

Merry Christmas to everyone! Thank you for following along . . .

X’s & O’s

no matter how much I say I love you ~ I always LOVE you more than that . . . 

Love comes in many forms, but the love for your child cannot be compared to any other.  It’s a love you cannot truly understand until you have a child.  I know that love because I felt it when my daughter was born twenty seven years ago and I felt it again when I recently became a  Grandma.  Somehow this was different, not that I loved her any less, but with this baby, I had all of the joy, without the responsibility of having to raise him. 

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in the quiet of the morning . . .

Life is only a reflection of what we allow ourselves to see

In the quiet of the morning I stepped outside into the brisk October air, McKenzie and I were out for our morning walk.  The day was still dark, the sun rises later this time of year. Breathing in the crisp air, taking in the quiet of the moment, I looked up and noticed how bright the moon was.  Was she looking down on all of us, or is she somewhere else living the life she should have had?

It was early Saturday morning, October 30, 2004 when she passed on. Today my mom is gone fourteen years, seems like only yesterday, but in reality it has been fourteen years.  She lived a life, I’m sure, she never envisioned when she was a child. She came to find peace that final year, retiring, moving into a new apartment she would decorate and furnish, it was all hers.  She purchased a new car and was so excited about both her new apartment and car, she would only drive it once.  She spoke with joy of the ducks that frequented the parking lot of her new home.  Just minutes from me and my family, but worlds away from where she had been for most of her life.

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 Mom (Catherine) is on the right

Being raised Catholic, we were taught to believe once you die, your soul goes to Heaven. I’m not quite sure what I believe. Heaven is most likely a beautiful place, but in my heart, I believe we are born again into another being.  Our soul becomes someone else, we live another life completely. What we do in this life, affords us better or worse in the next life.  My mom is living a wonderful life, one of tranquility, happiness and wealth.  Not wealth in the sense of possessions, but wealth as in an abundance of happiness.  She deserves happiness and peace.

As a child, I only remember her speaking of being carefree and happy once in her life. That is not to say, that she didn’t find happiness in her children, she absolutely did, my sister, brother and I were her whole world.  What I am referring to is a happiness within.  Only once, I believe, she actually found that happiness and it was while on a trip she had taken to California. This was before she got married and had children, she was young, carefree and happy.  I don’t remember her smiling often, but she looked radiant in the photos taken in California.  There were even photographs of her on a motorcycle, and at the beach, certainly not the mom I knew! (LOL)  She was young and oh so beautiful, auburn hair, a beautiful milky complexion and dressed so stylishly.

 

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Mom sitting with dark shirt/Mom in the white dress – California

This past June, my husband and I took a trip to California and I now understand why she fell in love with all of it.  An ocean bluer than blue, winding roads, beauty as far as your eye can see, and a carefree lifestyle not found in New Jersey.  Part of her will forever remain in California, where she belongs, where she knew pure and simple happiness.

I know my mom would have loved watching her grandchildren graduate from high school and college.  She would have been beaming from ear to ear with joy as her oldest grandchild was married and became a mother herself.  Unfortunately, she wasn’t here to witness any of those events.  I do know that wherever she is, she has found the happiness she so rightfully deserved.

As always, thank you for following along and sharing in my life.

Until next time. . . .

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Inspiration of the Heart

Sometimes you have to stop thinking so much and just go where your heart takes you 

The problem is I don’t know exactly where my heart should take me . . .

I seem to have lost my way lately, what do I want to photograph?  Do I even want to photograph anymore? I remember this happening several years ago, I was photographing portraits, thinking that I would make a second career from photography. The only problem was, I didn’t.  I found myself lost, frustrated and disenchanted with photography completely.  So I stopped, just stopped.  I didn’t pick up my camera for months.   Continue reading “Inspiration of the Heart”